Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Vayakhel - Shekalim 5782
1 – Topic – A Thought from the Nesivos Shalom on the first two Pesukim.
As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel which is also Shabbos Parshas Shekalim. Let us begin with 35:1 (וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל) the very beginning of the Parsha and I would like to share with you a beautiful Machshava from the Nesivos Shalom. He asks three Kashas. He says first of all what is going that Moshe Rabbeinu gathered Klal Yisrael to teach them a Mitzvah. We find Hakhel for a Bris, or some very special occasion. To find Hakhel to give a specific Mitzvah as we find here in the Parsha is highly unusual.
The second question he asks is which Mitzvah is here, the Mitzvah of Shabbos. (וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם: אֵלֶּה, הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְרוָר, לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם). 35:2 (שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ). Very strange. Rashi says when did he gather them? (למחרת יום הכפורים כשירד מן ההר). Imagine, Moshe Rabbeinu comes down from Har Sinai, this is the third time when he came with the Luchos Shenios and he said tomorrow we are having a big Hakhel, we are gathering everybody. They all come together when he gathers them and he tells them (שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן, לַירוָר). I want to tell you don’t work on Shabbos. Don’t work on Shabbos has been mentioned numerous times including in Parshas Yisro, at Har Sinai and last week in Parshas Ki Sisa. It has been mentioned numerous times. Why did he gather them all and they must have been waiting for a special post Yom Kippur message, and the message is don’t do Melacha on Shabbos. It needs an explanation.
The third question is Moshe Rabbeinu said (אֵלֶּה, הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְרוָר, לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם). This is what Hashem said you should do. What does he tell them? Don’t do Melacha on Shabbos. How is that you should do, (לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם). Certainly there is a deeper Kavana and the Nesivas Shalom shares with us the following Kavana.
Moshe Rabbeinu came down from Har Sinai and he said HKB”H has accepted your Teshuva for the Eigel and you will Zoche to go to Eretz Yisrael. But the Teshuva is not complete and there will still be a years’ time until you get in. There was no Gezaira for 40 years, but still the Teshuva for the Eigel is not yet complete and there will still be over L’doros anytime there is a punishment there will be a little bit of the Eigel mixed in. Moshe Rabbeinu tells Klal Yisrael I want to tell you an Emtzo’i, a way that a person can be Zoche to Teshuva. That is if you use the Shabbos K’hilchasa, if you use the Shabbos properly, Shabbos will help you get more and more Kapparah.
The Gemara says in Maseches Shabbos 118b (19 lines from the top) (כל המשמר שבת כהלכתו אפי' עובד ע"ז [כדור] אנוש מוחלין לו). What does the Gemara say? That if you keep Shabbos properly it is an Avodah of Teshuva. You get Mechila even for Avodah Zorah. Klal Yisrael by the Eigel with their Cheit of Avodah Zorah have now in the Koach of Shabbos a Tikkun for this Cheit.
So Moshe Rabbeinu comes down from Har Sinai by Yom Kippur and says that HKB”H has forgiven you and you can go into Eretz Yisrael, but the Cheit Ha’eigel still lingers. The Onesh of the Eigel will still linger for generations. Then he gathers Klal Yisrael together and he tells them you should know if you use the (שבת כהלכתו), if you use it properly it could help you achieve a true meaningful, lasting Kapparah beyond what you have. Shabbos is K’yom Techila L’mik’roei Kodesh. The simple meaning is the first of the holy days of the year. Al Pi Chasidus, the Nesivos Shalom Teitches, that it is Techila L’mik’roei Kodesh, it is the beginning of allowing a person to achieve greater and greater Kedusha, greater and greater meaning. Therefore, the Shabbos is an Amtzo’i, a way of Aliyah. It is a way of an Aliyah, a way of growth and a way of backtracking from mistakes that a person has made.
If this is so for the Dor Hamidbar, certainly in our generation. If it is true for Bnei Torah, Yeshiva’leit who are in Yeshiva all week, it is certainly true for somebody who is out in the workplace all week. Shabbos is the opportunity Techila L’mik’roei Kodesh. To be the beginning of a person achieving a true level of Kedusha. We have to use it. We don’t use it enough. Shabbos should not be a day that we Drei around, that we waste our time. If all week you are running when it comes to the other things you have to do, of course Shabbos you rest more. But Shabbos should be a time that you wisely designate Zemanim for learning. Leil Shabbos, Friday night, the Davening is over so early. You know that when you go home and have a Seuda you will be exhausted afterwards. Tell your wives I am coming home from Shul one hour later. After Kabbalas Shabbos stay in Shul for a while you are still wide awake. You have the Seuda to look forward to. Use the time wisely. Shabbos day use the time wisely. As the Shabbos gets longer and longer and sunset is later and later, that shouldn’t add time to your eating and sleeping. It should add time to your Beis Medrash time.
Says the Nesivos Shalom, you know how Shabbos is used for Kedusha, through (וַיַּקְהֵל), through a Shabbos B’tzibur. Shabbos alone at home is not the same Shabbos. A Shabbos B’tzibur is a Derech of Aliyah. What a beautiful message from the beginning of Parshas Vayakhel.
2 – Topic – A Thought on why Betzalel was the Chochom of the Maiseh Hamishkan
(בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן-אוּרִי בֶן-חוּר) is taught here as the genius of the Maiseh Hamishkan, a genius with Kedusha, a genius with Ehlerlichkeit, a genius with Frum’keit. That is Betzalel. Somebody asked Rav Chaim Kanievsky is there any Chazal that tells us why Betzalel who is just a Bar Mitzvah boy at this time, why Betzalel had the Zechus to be the one that was filled with the Chochmo L’chol Melacha?
Rav Chaim Kanievsky mentioned a Medrash Shir Hashirim that says that it was in the Zechus of Miriam. The Zechus of Miriam, it could have still Betzalel’s father Uri, or Betzalel’s brothers. Why was it Betzalel? Rav Pam used to say also from a Medrash, that Yaheiv Chochco L’chakimam, HKB”H gives wisdom to wise people. That somebody who has some wisdom Hashem gives him more wisdom and this was Betzalel. Betzalel had some wisdom and HKB”H filled him up with more wisdom.
The question is where did the first wisdom come from? Yaheiv Chochco L’chakimam, if you have wisdom HKB”H gives more. To whom does Hashem give Chochmo? To wise people. Yasher Koach! If you have wisdom you have wisdom.
Rav Pam Teitched (I don’t remember in whose name), what is the first wisdom that brings you more wisdom? The first Chochmo is the appreciation of Chochmos Hatorah. If you are wise enough to appreciate Chochmos Hatorah and that comes from the Yeitzer Tov, it doesn’t come from a naturally good memory. If you choose to appreciate Chochmos Hatorah then Yaheiv Chochco L’chakimam. So Betzalel had an appreciation for the wisdom of Torah. He Davened to HKB”H for a wisdom of Torah so he Tak’e got the wisdom of Torah.
Yaheiv Chochco L’chakimam. Why was he chosen? Zechus Miriam. Why among the descendants of Miriam? Because he uniquely was Yaheiv Chochco L’chakimam, he was an Adam Chochom, a wise person and he was Zoche to that.
3 – Topic – A thought on Parshas Shekalim
I would like to do something unusual for Parshas Shekalim. I would like to discuss what are Shekalim? Have you ever heard anyone discuss that on Parshas Shekalim? What exactly is a Shekel? Boruch Hashem we learn Gemara and we learn all kinds of coins, Shekel and Sela and Dinner and Zuzim and Perutos. All kinds of coins. So I think that it is just something Mishmashed in our minds.
So, let me share with you that the main coins mentioned in the Gemara are a Shekel and a Sela which are synonyms. In the Gemara Shekel and Sela are the same. A Dinner and a Zuz are the same. A Dinner coin in Aramaic is a Zuz. Same exact coin. And of course there is a Peruta. A Dinner is 192 Perutos. If you need a Siman to remember that, in Shul when we learned Shekalim we came up with a Siman. 192 is Kuf Tzadik Beis. KaTzaV. Katzav is a butcher. If you want dinner you go to the butcher. You go to the Katzav and you get 192 Perutos to the Dinner. The Dinner itself also called a Zuz is a quarter of a silver Shekel (Sela). Stam coins are Shekel or Sela, so that the Shekel or the Sela is 768 Perutos. If a Peruta is a penny so then the Shekel or Sela is $7.68. These are the main coins in Shas. There are additional but too many in one shot is not good. Peruta times (KaTzaV) 192 = Zuz or Dinner, times four is Shekel or Sela. These are all silver coins which were the normal silver coins of their time and these are as mentioned in the Gemara. Chazal say that this includes a 20% add on to the Shekel of the Midbar. The Midbar was a little bit less but this is the number for a person to remember.
Now, the Mitzvah of Machatzis Hashekel, what exactly is the Mitzvah? So you know that we do half of the coin of any country that we are in. So that Jews who are in France give half a Franc, in Britain give half a Pound, in Eretz Yisrael give half an Israeli Shekel. In America half a Dollar. What about Mi’haira Yibaneh Bais Hamikdash we are going to give.
It is a B’feirush a Mishnah in the second Perek of Shekelim that even in the Machatzis Hashekel that was given to the Mishkan it was the coin of the time. The Mishna says (שכשעלו ישראל מן הגולה) when they came back for the Binyan Bayis Sheini they gave a half a Darcon. A Darcon was the going coin of the time. Whatever the coin is you give half of that coin. When Moshiach comes which coin will we give?
The Rambam says in Hilchos Shekalim, Perek Aleph, Halacha Hei (מחצית השקל זו מצותה שיתן מחצית מטבע של אותו הזמן אפילו היה אותו מטבע גדול משקל הקדש. ולעולם אינו שוקל פחות מחצי השקל שהיה בימי משה רבינו שהוא משקלו מאה וששים שעורה) that it is half of whatever coin it is but it can’t have a value of less than the Machatzis Hashekel that was the original Mitzvah.
How much was the Shekel originally worth? At least according to the numbers we said a Shekel is 4 Dinarrim so a Machatzis Hashekel is 2 Dinarrim and a Dinner is 192 Perutos. 2 Dinarrim is 384 Perutos. So that, the minimum value of half of a Mat’bai’a would be 384 Perutos. Given that a Peruta according to most Rishonim is around a penny, it would have to be about $3.84. So the half a Dollar of American money would not work. It has to be a coin which is worth at least $3.84. We would have to figure out which Machatzis Hashekel to do.
What about a country that has many coins? Euro and a Pound? A Dollar and an Israeli Shekel? The Chazon Ish writes it is the highest value silver coin. We are in a lot of trouble as there are no silver coins in circulation in the 21st century. Therefore, Moshiach will come, one of us will grab the opportunity and take over as secretary of the treasury of the new Klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael and we are going to have coins, and the half coin is going to be worth at least that Machatzis Hashekel, 384 Perutos. IY”H we will use that coin to be Mekayeim the Mitzvah of Shekalim.
In the meantime, we do a Remez to the Mitzvah of Shekalim on Taanis Esther. Sefardim do it already from Rosh Chodesh Adar. When Moshiach will come, don’t save your American Kennedy half dollars as they are not going to work. We are going to need to have a proper Machatzis Hashekel. And so, I hope that this information will help you as you go through Shas. The important thing is that people should know that a Dinner and a Zuz is the same thing. A Silver Sela and a Shekel is the same thing. Not only that but a Gai’ra and a Ma’a, Shekel Esrim Gai’ra Heim. It is the same as the Ma’a of the Gemara (מעה) the same thing. 24 Ma’a to a Shekel after the Shas has the 20% increase. Then it is 24 Gai’ra or Ma’a to the Shekel.
And so, a little bit of handy information to help you through Shas. IY”H we should be Zoche to give the Shekalim IY”H. Machatzis Hashekel which is called Shekel B’lashon Bnei Adam. To give the Machatzis Hashekel B’karov B’yameinuin in Artzeinu Hakedosha B’bias Goel B’binyan Bayis Shlishi B’mihaira B’yameinu. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!